1. Coming Soon: Trump’s Black Budget
2. Donald Trump Is Filling Top Pentagon and Homeland Security
Positions With Defense Contractors
3. Newly Obtained Documents Prove: Key Claim of Snowden’s
Accusers Is a Fraud
4. Proof Comey's Testimony Is a Turning Point in Trump's
5. 'Morning Joe' Openly Calls on Republicans to Dump Trump
6. The Composite Trump: Some Notes Toward Understanding Our
President's Level of Sanity
This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, March 22, 2017.
Summary: This is an
ordinary crisis log with six items and six dotted links: Item 1
is about Trump's budget for secret spying, and is interesting, although
the budget hasn't arrived yet and will probably remain mostly a secret;
item 2 is about Trump's expanding the military budget and homeland
security programs with defense contractors, which I think is evidence he is preparing for war; item 3 is about an article by Glenn Greenwald on Snowden that is good; item 4
is about how Comey's and Roger's testimonies hurt Trump (and may be seen
as part of the efforts of the deep state to get rid of Trump); item 5 is about the TV-program "Morning Joe", which has a daughter of Brzezinski as co-host, that calls for dumping Trump; and item 6 is about an question of Kevin Drum that allows me to explain something about how diagnosing is done in psychiatry and psychology.
March 22: As to the
The Danish site was again
on time today; but the Dutch site again stuck on Sunday last. If over a year of signs are correct, this means it will NOT be updated for at least another week.
Where my site on xs4all.nl stuck for others
I have NO idea AT ALL: It
2015. (They do want immediate
payment if you are a
week behind. Xs4all.nl has been destroying
my site now for over
a year. And I completely distrust them, but also do not
know whether they are doing it or some secret service is.)
1. Coming Soon: Trump’s Black Budget
The first article is by Jefferson Morley on AlterNet:
This starts as follows:
There was one $50 billion-plus item omitted from President Trump’s
proposed federal budget last week: the National Intelligence Program,
otherwise known as the U.S. government’s “black budget."
black budget request will be sent to the House and Senate intelligence
committee sometime in the coming weeks or months, under the bland name
of “the Congressional Budget Justification for the National Intelligence
Program,” according to Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American
The secret document, likely to run to 100-plus pages,
will outline the administration’s spending plans for the CIA, the NSA,
and a host of other secret agencies in the coming year.
Incidentally, note that the title of this article started "Coming Soon": It has not arrived yet, and anyway is secret. But I agree it is quite important, simply because the NSA, the CIA and many more secret services have been secretly and illegally spying on everyone (anywhere) with a computer or a cell-phone since 2001.
Here is some more that makes it more interesting:
Trump's black budget request will also provide a reality test of the notion that Trump is at war with the “deep state.”
On the right, Newt Gingrich and Breitbart News
depict the president under siege from a deep state, comprised of CIA
and liberal bureaucrats. On the left, Glenn Greenwald sees a deep state,
led by pro-Clinton CIA officials, at war with the elected government. In the political center, New Yorker editor David Remnick says, “there is no deep state,” just a responsible reaction to a "shallow" president with dubious ties to a foreign power.
terminology you prefer, the black budget is one of the few ways the
public can quantify the resources commanded by the most secretive wing
of what scholar Michael Glennon calls America’s “double government.”
I note that the deep state (part of which is presumed to do the spying) is not quite the same as the spying, and I also note that I do believe in some sort of deep state, and that for three basic reasons: (i) the basic idea is that of the military-industrial complex (<-Wikipedia) that was identified for the first time by president Eisenhower in 1961; (ii) there is nothing implausible or incredible about something like a - partial, secondary - government that operates behind the elected government, indeed rather like the military-industrial complex; while (iii) there is a good amount of evidence that there is something like a deep state in the USA, indeed ever since 1960 or so, and here are two sources, that were described by me on March 3, namely Mike Lofgren and Peter Dale Scott (whose ideas differ a little).
Also there have been quite a few, from different sides also, who have insisted that there is a fight going on between Trump and the deep state (which differs a bit in content depending on which side you are on, but which anyway contains the CIA).
The basic problem is that "the public" must pay the taxes which - somehow, secretly - fund the deep state, but is supposed to know nothing about the deep state or spying on themselves, also not if this spying amounts to secretly and illegally trying to read everyone's e-mails (as I think is admitted now is being done in the USA, except of course that the secret services deny they do it illegally).
Here is some more on the black budget:
The black budget is also one of the most potent tools available to the president to shape national security policy.
crucial test will be how Trump’s black budget compares to President
Obama’s. Last year, the Director of National Intelligence revealed that
the spending for secret intelligence ran to $53.5 billion, a
two percent increase over the $52.6 billion budget for fiscal 2013,
which was made public by NSA contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden.
In 2013, a document leaked by Snowden showed that two-thirds of the black budget
went to three agencies: CIA, NSA, and the National Reconnaissance
Office (NRO), which controls the government’s space satellites. Of these
three, the CIA was easily the largest, commanding a $14.7 annual budget
compared to $10.5 billion for NSA and $10.3 billion for NRO.
I'd guess myself that Trump's budget will be quite
similar to Obama's, if only because Trump cannot radically cut the
amounts of money that go to the deep state without great difficulties.
But this is a guess, and in fact no one (outside Trump and his cronies) knows:
In constant dollars, the 2017 intelligence black budget was about
twice the estimated size of the 2001 budget, and 25 percent bigger than
the 2006 budget, according to the Post.
So far nothing has leaked about Trump’s plans.
my knowledge, the administration has not yet disclosed any information
about the intelligence budget request for FY 2018, said Steven Aftergood
in an email to AlterNet. “But they are obliged by law to do so.”
We shall find out eventually, at least
about the nominal size of the intelligence budget, but when this will
happen is also not yet fixed.
This is a recommended article.
2. Donald Trump Is Filling Top Pentagon and Homeland Security Positions With Defense Contractors
This starts as follows:
The second article is by Lee Fang on The Intercept
President Donald Trump has weaponized the revolving door by
appointing defense contractors and their lobbyists to key government
positions as he seeks to rapidly expand the military budget and homeland
I say. And my own inference from Trump's seeking "to rapidly expand the military budget and homeland
security programs" is that one does so if one is preparing for major war. (And knowing a little more about Stephen Bannon (<-Wikipedia) - one of Trump's main assistants - only backs up that inference.)
Personnel from major defense companies now occupy the highest ranks of
the administration including cabinet members and political appointees
charged with implementing the Trump agenda. At least 15 officials with
financial ties to defense contractors have been either nominated or
appointed so far, with potentially more industry names on the way as
Trump has yet to nominate a variety of roles in the government,
including Army and Navy secretaries.
Here is some more on Trump's military budget:
Defense firms have eagerly watched as Trump recently unveiled a budget calling for $54 billion in additional military spending next year, as well as an additional $30 billion for the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security for this fiscal year, which ends on September 31. About $15.5 billion of the $30 billion is slated to be spent on new military equipment.
The spending spree will provide a brand new opportunity for defense
lobbyists to get business for their clients. And the most effective
lobbying generally involves contacting former colleagues in positions of
Yes indeed. And there is a considerable
amount on various persons who got nominated or may be nominated, which
I all skip but recommend to your interests.
This ends as follows (and compare this with item 1):
I can only agree with Hartung, and this is a recommended article.
The Trump administration is the “military-industrial complex
personified,” said William Hartung, director of the Arms & Security
Project at the Center for International Policy. Hartung noted that while
the administration is bringing arms industry officials into government,
it is also demanding a massive increase in military spending and
appears to be escalating conflicts in Syria and Yemen.
“In short, the Trump proposals are an armsmaker’s dream come true,” he said.
3. Newly Obtained Documents Prove: Key Claim of Snowden’s Accusers Is a Fraud
The third article is by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
For almost four years, a cottage industry of media
conspiracists has devoted itself to accusing Edward Snowden of being a
spy for either Russia and/or China at the time he took and then leaked
documents from the National Security Agency. There has never been any
evidence presented to substantiate this accusation.
In lieu of evidence, the propagators of this accusation have relied
upon the defining tactic of tawdry conspiracists everywhere: relentless
repetition of rumor and innuendo based on alleged inconsistencies until
it spreads far enough through the media ecosystem to take on the
appearance of being credible. In this case, there was one particular
fiction — about where Snowden spent his first 11 days after arriving in
Hong Kong — which took on particular significance for this group.
Yes indeed, and to the best of my knowledge all of this is quite correct. Also, I can add that, speaking for myself, I was immediately convinced that Snowden was honest, on the first day of learning about him, and I still am, but the former may have some to do with my rather abormal background and my reading, on the same
day, a quite insane concoction of conspiracy theories and personal
baloney on Edward Snowden by David Brookings, in The New York Times.
Here is some more by Greenwald:
They insist that Snowden, contrary to what he has always maintained,
did not check into the Mira Hotel on May 21, 2013, the day after he
arrived in Hong Kong. Instead, they assert, he checked-in only on June
1, which means Snowden has 11 “unaccounted-for” days from the time he
arrived in Hong Kong until he met with journalists at the Mira in the
beginning of June. They have repeatedly leveraged this Missing Eleven
Days into the insinuation that Snowden used this time to work with his
Russian and/or Chinese handlers in preparation for meeting the U.S.
journalists in Hong Kong.
While such reckless conspiracy-mongering is often relegated to online
fringes, this accusatory fable found its way to the nation’s mainstream
journalistic venues: the Wall Street Journal, Slate, Yahoo News,
Lawfare, Business Insider; these media conspiracists were subsequently
joined by several former officials of the intelligence community now
embedded in the pundit class in affirming this tale. These outlets have
repeatedly laundered and thus sanctioned the tale of the Missing Eleven
Days, despite its utter lack of any journalistic basis.
This is also quite correct according to my - meanwhile considerable - knowledge.
In the rest of this article Greenwald is refuting these conspiracy
theorists. I leave the details - quite a lot - to your interests.
Here is Greenwald's general conclusion:
Newly obtained documents conclusively prove that the central tale
invented by these Snowden-accusing commentators is a wholesale
fabrication. These documents negate the edifice on which this entire
fiction has been based from the start.
I agree, and this is a recommended article.
4. Proof Comey's Testimony Is a Turning Point in Trump's Presidency
The fourth article is by Heather Digby on AlterNet and originally on Salon:
5. 'Morning Joe' Openly Calls on Republicans to Dump Trump
The fifth article is by Alexandra Rosenmann on AlterNet:
starts as follows, and is here mostly because one of the presenters
of "Morning Joe" is Mika Brzezinski, who is the daughter of Zbigniew
Brzezinski, who is still alive, and who was (among other things) Jimmy
Carter's National Security Advisor, who also,
already in the late 1960ies managed to predict the horrible role personal computers would play in security , from the 2000s onwards:
"Morning Joe" spent Tuesday reviewing FBI Director James Comey's
confirmation of a counterintelligence investigation into Russian
influence on the 2016 election and the precedent it sets for the GOP
going forward. The hosts were, in a word, appalled.
Scarborough's message was simple: Stop waiting for Trump's presidential pivot and start putting country first.
the Republican Party doesn’t start taking care of itself and stop
making fools of themselves for a guy who is going to keep tweeting lies
and nonsense—they can’t chase that around,” he concluded.
can’t defend the indefensible,” Mika Brzezinski remarked. “They can’t
see what a sad and grave time this is for our country."
Incidentally, the "presidential pivot" is
the rather insane idea that Trump (who is 70) may or will become
"presidential" in some received sense - e.g. without continuous hardly
sane Tweets - "eventually".
In any case, this is a widely seen TV-program that is for dumping Trump, indeed within 100 days of Trump's presidency.
6. The Composite Trump: Some Notes Toward Understanding Our President's Level of Sanity
The sixth and last article today is by Kevin Drum on Mother Jones:
This has the following bit:
Let's roll the tape. Trump is vain. He's peculiarly unwilling to
learn anything new. He feels endlessly persecuted. His attention span
can be measured in minutes. He's paranoid over the slightest sign of
disloyalty. He is vengeful. He demands constant attention. He makes up
preposterous fictions to sustain his worldview and shield his ego from
the slings and arrows of reality. He desperately wants to be liked by
everyone. He's domineering. His personal relationships are almost
entirely transactional. He never laughs. He can't stand people poking
fun at him. He's often unable to control his emotional outbursts. And he
likes his steaks really well done.
Does that mean he's unhinged? I dunno. No single one of these things
is debilitating, but what happens when you put them all together?
here mainly because Kevin Drum is not a psychologist and I am (but I
generally like Drum) and because it allows me to make a few
observations on psychology and psychiatry:
First, Drum mentions no less than 14 quite odd personal characteristics of Donald Trump and correctly mentions that "[n]o single one of these things
is debilitating, but what happens when you put them all together?"
But second, that is precisely how a diagnosis proceeds: In terms of observational empirical characteristics, that also are counted. And while any one of these characteristics - say: "[h]e makes up
preposterous fictions to sustain his worldview" - may not be "debilitating", to have two or three of these - rather infrequent - characteristics makes it considerably more likely something is not right with the person who shows these characteristics.
And in fact the DSMs specify 9 characteristics that may lead to the
diagnosis that someone who has them is megalomaniac (in psychiatrese:
"has a narcissistic personality disorder" ), that I think are all
mentioned in the above list (thougth not quite as specified in the
DSMs), while insisting that anyone who has 5 out of these 9
characteristics "has a narcissistic personality disorder".
Well... when I compared the 9
characteristics the DSMs list and compared these with Trump's behavior
and sayings on video I concluded (as did quite a few professors of
psychiatry or psychology) that he satisfies all 9.
This led to my agreeing with the
diagnosis, that may not be called "diagnosis" according to the American
Psychiatric Association , so I will say it is a professional opinion.
And indeed, given that the present
president of the USA is vain, unwilling to learn, feels persecuted, has
a very brief attention span, is paranoid over any sign of disloyalty,
is vengeful, demands constant attention, makes up preposterous
fictions, wants to be liked by everyone, is domineering, has only
transactional and no personal relations, never laughs, can't stand
people poking fun at him, and is unable to control his emotional
outbursts (I copied mostly), how sane would you say the present
president of the USA is?
I am merely asking (but know what I think).